The Insider

By John Liang
April 1, 2022 at 3:15 PM

The top Democrats and Republicans on the House and Senate Armed Services committees have named their picks to be on the congressionally mandated Afghanistan War Commission.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) selected Jeremy Bash, former chief of staff at the Defense Department from 2011-2013 and chief of staff at the CIA from 2009-2011.

Ranking Member Mike Rogers (R-AL) tapped Michael Allen, a former staff director of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack Reed (D-RI) chose Michael Lumpkin, president of Amida Technology Solutions and a former assistant defense secretary for special operations and low-intensity conflict.

Ranking Member Jim Inhofe (R-OK) tapped Colin Jackson, a professor at the U.S. Naval War College. From 2017-2019, Jackson served as deputy assistant defense secretary for Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia.

Established via the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, the commission "will conduct a comprehensive review of key decisions related to U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan by focusing on the period from June 2001 to August 2021," according to a statement released by both committees.

Sixteen people will make up the commission, including one commissioner each appointed by the House and Senate Armed Services committee chairmen and ranking members plus the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate Foreign Affairs/Relations committees, along with the top Democrat and Republican on the House and Senate intelligence committees as well as the House speaker, House minority leader, Senate majority leader and Senate minority leader, according to the statement.

By Jason Sherman
April 1, 2022 at 2:10 PM

SAPA Placencia, the Spanish defense contractor with a U.S. subsidiary developing next-generation transmission technology for the Army, has teamed with Honeywell Aerospace to collaborate on enhanced electric power generation for combat vehicles -- with a goal to double energy output compared with current technology.

Executives from the two companies signed a memorandum of agreement, according to a March 30 announcement, with the aim of providing increased levels of power generation efficiency to support increased electrical needs of future military land vehicles that will be equipped with increased numbers of sensors, communications equipment, and information systems.

"This important agreement allows SAPA to contribute our expertise in the development of electric power solutions for military land vehicles,” Ibon Aperribay, CEO of SAPA Placencia, said in a statement. “We are also excited to be part of such a fundamental innovation for the future of the industry, alongside a major company such as Honeywell."

John Guasto, vice president, defense and space international at Honeywell Aerospace said the agreement will allow the two companies to “eventually offer unprecedented levels of power generation efficiency.”

By John Liang
April 1, 2022 at 1:57 PM

This Friday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Pentagon's inflation calculations, the Navy's FY-23 budget, the Army's plan to replace Javelin and Stinger missiles sent to Ukraine and more.

During a panel discussion hosted by the Center for a New American Security, defense analysts took the Pentagon to task for how it calculates for inflation:

Defense analysts: DOD too optimistic in FY-23 about buying power lost to inflation

Washington analysts who have had several days to dissect the fiscal year 2023 defense budget request today criticized the White House and Pentagon for using unrealistic inflation assumptions, but were uniform in their predictions that Congress would add tens of billions more to the Pentagon's coffers.

Inside Defense spoke this week with three House lawmakers about the Navy's fiscal year 2023 budget request:

Lawmakers view undersea programs strong in Navy's FY-23 budget, surface fleet numbers troubling

The Navy's undersea programs remain strong in the service's fiscal year 2023 budget request, but surface fleet numbers are drawing concern from three prominent House lawmakers.

The Army's acquisition chief testified this week before the House Armed Services tactical air and land forces subcommittee:

Bush: Army's plan to replace Javelins, Stingers coming soon

The Army will "soon" send its plan to Congress for replacing thousands of Javelin and Stinger missiles that it sent to Ukraine, Doug Bush, the Army acquisition executive, told lawmakers today.

The Pentagon has awarded Raytheon a $651 million radar contract:

Raytheon awarded SPY-6 contract for Navy's next-gen ships

Raytheon Technologies has been selected to produce SPY-6 radar variants for seven different types of Navy ships.

We cap the week off with news on when an upgraded hypersonic strike missile could be fielded:

New, upgraded U.S. hypersonic strike weapon could be fielded as soon as 2026

The U.S. military has drafted a blueprint for the first incremental upgrade of its small fleet of long-range hypersonic strike weapons and has laid out plans for a two-year production of improved glide vehicles that incorporate new technology slated to be available for Army ground units and Navy ships in 2026 and 2027.

By Ethan Sterenfeld
April 1, 2022 at 12:01 PM

BAE Systems and Oshkosh Defense have submitted their final bids to produce the Army's new specialized Arctic vehicle after completing prototype tests in the Alaskan winter, the companies said last week.

The Cold Weather All-Terrain Vehicle will replace the Small Unit Support Vehicle, which has been in service since the 1980s and reaches obsolescence in fiscal year 2023, an Army official said last year when BAE and Oshkosh won CATV prototype contracts.

Both CATV prototypes are tracked vehicles that can operate in the snow, mud and extreme cold that confront Arctic operations. The vehicle was included in the Arctic strategy that the Army released last year, which included plans for a multidomain task force focused on the region.

Temperatures approached 50 degrees below zero during testing of BAE’s offering, the Beowulf, the company said in a March 23 press release.

“Beowulf performed in multiple tasks while remaining fully mission-capable during the prototype evaluation phase in Alaska that began in June and ended earlier this year,” the press release stated. “The testing included amphibious operations, navigating terrain with varying levels of complexity, starting and operating in extreme cold weather, and most critically, user assessment by soldiers.”

The vehicle is an unarmored version of the BvS10, which the United Kingdom, France, Sweden, Norway and Austria already use, BAE has previously said. BAE Hagglunds, a Swedish division of the company, has collaborated on the program.

Oshkosh’s proposal “successfully completed” the prototype evaluation process, Pat Williams, vice president and general manager of Army and Marine Corps programs, wrote in a March 25 statement to Inside Defense. Oshkosh teamed with ST Engineering on the CATV program, for which it has offered the Singaporean company’s Bronco 3.

“We will defer to the U.S. Army for specifics regarding the evaluation of the prototypes, but extensive testing and user evaluation proved that the Oshkosh Defense CATV meets or exceeds program requirements,” Williams wrote.

The Army plans to award one of the competitors a production contract in June, using procurement funding from FY-21 and FY-22, according to FY-22 budget documents. The procurement objective is 110 vehicles, while the acquisition objective is 163, a service official said last year.

The FY-23 budget request includes funding for 13 vehicles, the Army said earlier this week.

There will be general-purpose and cargo variants of the CATV, the Army has said. General-purpose variants should carry at least 10 soldiers, including the driver.

By Evan Ochsner
April 1, 2022 at 11:47 AM

The Army's "premier training event for 2022" will include demonstrations of the modernized Abrams Tank and Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, the Army announced Thursday.

Global Defender 22 will take place at multiple installations from April to September, according to the announcement.

“Global Defender 22 is designed to allow the Army to employ and assess multidomain concepts, demonstrate advanced future capabilities, and test future tactics, techniques and procedures as part of Army current and future readiness and modernization objectives,” the announcement states.

The exercise will be conducted in two phases, the Army said. The first phase will consist of three exercises to “demonstrate and assess specific modernization capabilities, formations, and strategic readiness.”

Phase one will involve about 20,000 personnel, according to the release, and part of it will highlight modernization efforts of the M1A2SEPv3 Abrams tank and the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle. The Army is providing most of the personnel and units for phase one, according to the release, but the Air Force and Navy will also participate.

Project Convergence 22 will be part of the second phase, led by Army Futures Command and slated for August through September.

By Tony Bertuca
April 1, 2022 at 9:54 AM

The Senate Armed Services Committee has scheduled a hearing on the fiscal year 2023 defense budget Thursday with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley.

Pentagon Comptroller Mike McCord is also slated to testify.

Austin and Milley are also scheduled to appear before the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday to discuss the FY-23 budget request.

President Biden has requested $813 billion for national defense in FY-23, of which $773 billion would go to the Pentagon, but congressional Republicans argue the amount is too low and does not properly keep pace with historic inflation.

By Ethan Sterenfeld
March 31, 2022 at 4:50 PM

The Army's third multidomain task force will be stationed in the Indo-Pacific, but the service is still deciding exactly where it will be based, Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville said today.

“It’s going to be tied to U.S. Army Pacific,” McConville told reporters at a Defense Writers Group breakfast. “The final stationing decision still has to be made. But we’re in the process of standing that up.”

A “prototype” of the task force might be created in Hawaii before a final decision is made, he said.

The Army’s fiscal year 2023 budget request, which was released March 28, included plans to stand up a third MDTF. The first and second MDTFs are focused on the Pacific and Europe, respectively.

Col. Dave Zinn, who currently serves on McConville’s staff, will command the new task force, McConville said.

The MDTF is a new, theater-specific organization the Army has designed to deploy nascent capabilities in coordination with divisions, corps and other services. One-star generals lead the task forces that have already been created.

A typical MDTF will have battalions for long-range fires, multidomain effects, sustainment and Indirect Fire Protection Capability, although each task force might tweak the design based on operational needs in each theater, the director of the Fires Center for Excellence said last month.

Three of the task forces are planned to field the Army’s new hypersonic missile. A company at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA, is expected to operate the first hypersonic battery when the missiles are fielded at the end of FY-23.

By John Liang
March 31, 2022 at 4:43 PM

Mercury Systems has hired Steve Ratner to be senior vice president and chief human resources officer, the company announced today.

Ratner will report to president and chief executive officer Mark Aslett, according to a Mercury statement.

Before Mercury, Ratner was vice president of human resources for Raytheon Technologies' Missiles & Defense business unit. Prior to that, he was vice president of human resources and security at Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems.

By Tony Bertuca
March 31, 2022 at 4:13 PM

President Biden has invoked the Defense Production Act to ensure greater domestic production of rare earth minerals used for electric vehicle batteries.

“It is the policy of my administration that ensuring a robust, resilient, sustainable and environmentally responsible domestic industrial base to meet the requirements of the clean energy economy, such as the production of large-capacity batteries, is essential to our national security and the development and preservation of domestic critical infrastructure,” according to a new memo from Biden.

At present, Biden wrote, the United States is overly dependent on “unreliable foreign sources for many of the strategic and critical materials necessary for the clean energy transition -- such as lithium, nickel, cobalt, graphite, and manganese for large-capacity batteries.”

Biden’s new DPA Title III order covering those minerals would allow mining companies to seek federal funding to bolster their output.

The available funding would, among other things, cover companies’ feasibility studies and modernization efforts.

By Evan Ochsner
March 31, 2022 at 4:08 PM

Boeing and Sikorsky's technology demonstrator for the Future Long Range Assault Aircraft flew over 700 nautical miles -- with two fuel stops -- from West Palm Beach, FL, to Nashville, TN, the companies announced Thursday.

The flight, ending at a hangar near the location of the Army Aviation Association of America’s annual conference, demonstrates the high level of confidence the companies have in the safety, maturity and reliability of the SB-1 Defiant, company officials told reporters.

“We wanted to show that we are highly confident in this aircraft,” said Mark Cherry, vice president and general manager of Boeing Vertical Lift.

The SB-1 Defiant will be on display during the conference next week, according to company officials and a press release.

“We’re excited for the Army soldiers to see it and understand what the aircraft will do for the Army,” Sikorsky president Paul Lemmo told reporters.

The Army has said it will announce this summer its selection between proposals submitted by Boeing-Sikorsky and Bell for the FLRAA.

The SB-1 Defiant flight was the first time the helicopter had flown outside of Florida, Lemmo said. The aircraft used about 50% of available power and flew around 175 knots true airspeed. Fuel burn was less than they expected for the flight, officials said.

“I think it demonstrates that there’s a lot more that this aircraft has to offer, and we certainly think that it’s the future of Army aviation,” Lemmo said.

The aircraft did not require maintenance at either of its fuel stops, stopping only briefly both times, officials said.

Boeing and Sikorsky will continue to fly the SB-1 Defiant at least into the near future, officials said.

"This aircraft has a lot of life left, so we’re going to continue to fly it as long as we can and figure out risk reduction so that on day one of the award we’re ready to go,” Lemmo said. “And if we can, we’ll continue to fly it even past day one of the award.”

Bell retired its FLRAA technology demonstrator last year after it flew more than 200 hours.

Boeing and Sikorsky also on Thursday announced six new suppliers for the Defiant X project.

ATI will provide gearbox forgings; Collins Aerospace will provide flight control, a vehicle management computer and aircraft seats; Elbit Systems of America will provide a mission system computer; Parker Aerospace will provide flight controls, hydraulic pumps and modules; Magnaghi Aeronautica will provide landing gear; and Marotta Controls will provide electrical power system components.

Sikorsky and Boeing previously announced that Honeywell will provide the engine for Defiant X.

By John Liang
March 31, 2022 at 1:58 PM

This Thursday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on hypersonic strike weapons, missile defense on Guam, the Army avoiding major cuts to its budget and more.

We start off with news on when an upgraded hypersonic strike missile could be fielded:

New, upgraded U.S. hypersonic strike weapon could be fielded as soon as 2026

The U.S. military has drafted a blueprint for the first incremental upgrade of its small fleet of long-range hypersonic strike weapons and has laid out plans for a two-year production of improved glide vehicles that incorporate new technology slated to be available for Army ground units and Navy ships in 2026 and 2027.

The Biden administration's fiscal year 2023 request seeks $892 million for a new Guam defense system that produces a 360-degree, persistent air and missile defense of the Western Pacific U.S. territory:

New Guam defense system could be used to shield U.S. cities, critical domestic infrastructure

The Defense Department is drafting plans for a new air- and missile-defense capability -- a $4.4 billion near-term investment -- to provide a mobile land system that protects Guam against advanced Chinese threats as soon as 2026 that could also have utility in other regions of the world, including protecting U.S. cities and critical domestic infrastructure.

"If you're in the Army leadership, you're breathing a sigh of relief," one analyst tells Inside Defense on the service's fiscal year 2023 budget request:

Analysts: Army avoided 'bloodletting' in FY-23 request

The Army's fiscal year 2023 budget request managed to avoid the "bloodletting" that had been predicted if the Biden administration wanted to concentrate funding on other services and build strength in the Indo-Pacific, analysts told Inside Defense this week.

Some cyber defense news from our colleagues at Inside Cybersecurity:

Pentagon agency to conduct contractor compliance survey based on NIST standard

The Defense Contract Management Agency is planning to evaluate information submitted by contractors on their compliance with NIST Special Publication 800-171 to get a better understanding of whether the defense industrial base is meeting the current standard for handling sensitive data.

The latest on the Air Force's T-7A trainer program:

Air Force prepares EIS for T-7A recapitalization

The Air Force announced this week it will begin an environmental impact statement to assess social, economic and environmental impacts associated with the planned recapitalization of the T-7A Red Hawk at Columbus Air Force Base, MS.

We now know who will build the Navy's next-generation small unmanned underwater vehicle:

Navy selects HII's REMUS 300 for new unmanned program of record

The Navy selected Huntington Ingalls Industries' REMUS 300 to be its next-generation small unmanned underwater vehicle program of record.

By Tony Bertuca
March 31, 2022 at 10:35 AM

The National Defense Industrial Association has named former Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist as its news president and chief executive officer.

Norquist, whose official start date is May 1, will succeed Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle, who announced he was stepping down March 4 amid disagreements with NDIA Board Chairman Arnold Punaro over the direction of the organization.

“David's exemplary experience and stellar reputation make him the ideal leader for NDIA, and the board and I could not be more pleased to have him join and lead the executive management team,” Punaro said in an NDIA statement. “We’ve selected a strong leader at a time of great challenge in the defense marketplace. With his proven experience and accomplishments in our industry, the legislative branch, and two of the largest, most complex federal government organizations, David is capable from day one to continue enhancing the industry-government relationship that is essential to supporting the warfighter and the taxpayer. He will also continue NDIA’s strong tradition of nonpartisan leadership.”

Norquist served in the former Trump administration as deputy defense secretary from 2019 to 2021, and also served a short stint as acting defense secretary. Prior to that, he served as Pentagon comptroller.

“It is an honor to be selected to serve as president and CEO of NDIA,” Norquist said in the NDIA statement. “As a nation, one of our core strategic advantages is the innovative character of our defense industrial base. Our long-term national security depends on government effectively capitalizing on that strength and I look forward to assisting in that effort.”

By Briana Reilly
March 30, 2022 at 4:21 PM

U.S. Cyber Command has not yet developed outcome-based metrics to assess and review key warfighting programs that have recently fielded capabilities, the Government Accountability Office found.

The reality, today’s GAO report warns, could leave officials without an understanding of “whether and how new capabilities benefit the cyber warfighting mission.”

Through the Defense Department’s Joint Cyber Warfighting Architecture, CYBERCOM officials are aiming “to provide a comprehensive, integrated cyberspace architecture,” which includes four already-underway acquisition programs and efforts led by each military department and the command that acquire and deploy cyber tools, according to GAO.

But GAO determined CYBERCOM has more work to do in evaluating the programs that have and will continue to be delivering capabilities. Specifically, the report shows that while officials began scheduling the so-called “value assessments” for the JCWA programs it oversees in the fall, “the command will not complete all of them by the required dates”: within a year of fielding capabilities.

Part of the reason for the delay, GAO notes, is CYBERCOM’s misunderstanding of its role in the assessments -- a difficulty compounded by the newness of DOD’s fledgling software acquisition pathway, which almost all major JCWA programs are leveraging.

Relatedly, command officials as of December haven’t yet developed broad metrics to track whether those programs are meeting their intended cyber operational outcomes -- meaning the command likely won’t have outcome-based standards in place before its first value assessments are completed, GAO reported.

Those metrics, which can include whether a given effort is improving infrastructure security, are especially important given the need to determine how the multiple programs tied to JWCA are working together, the report adds, and whether those efforts are increasing speed in conducting certain kinds of cyber operations, for example.

Though CYBERCOM began efforts last spring to develop such metrics, officials told GAO that their inexperience with the software acquisition pathway, the continually evolving nature of the cyber mission and difficulties with measuring factors such as new tactics or training on outcomes were slowing their progress. GAO noted that the command would have more time to establish metrics ahead of the next set of JCWA program value assessments.

The Pentagon in its response agreed with GAO’s recommendation to develop broad metrics to support future assessments. Officials noted that CYBERCOM submitted a request to DOD for extra resources to boost the command’s ability to understand the external forces affecting its efforts to create an outcome-based metrics program.

The latest report on the JWCA comes as CYBERCOM has made progress in defining interoperability goals such as data tagging standards for its more than two-year-old architecture that could have prevented its systems from sharing information and working in coordination. GAO credited the command for setting those goals in its first Concept of Operations document from September 2021 and establishing plans to regularly update them.

By Tony Bertuca
March 30, 2022 at 3:52 PM

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley are scheduled to testify Tuesday before the House Armed Services Committee on the fiscal year 2023 Pentagon budget request, with Democrats and Republicans again poised for a partisan battle over defense spending.

Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) has said he supports President Biden’s FY-23 request for $813 billion for national defense, of which $773 billion would go to the Pentagon, but Republicans have already called for a significant increase.

“We should not settle for a debate over how much money to allocate to the department -- focusing on the dollar amount alone misses the point entirely,” Smith said in a statement. “Instead, we owe the American people a debate over how the department spends resources to address our most significant national security challenges. I look forward to bipartisan discussions with the department’s senior leadership about how this budget addresses the greatest threats to our defense, prioritizes efficiency and agility, aligns with key strategic planning documents like the new National Defense Strategy, and supports our service members and their families -- who are the heart and soul of our national security enterprise.”

But Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL), the committee’s ranking Republican, has said the budget request does not do enough to keep pace with record inflation and that the GOP intends to push to increase the FY-23 defense topline by 5% above the $782 billion Congress enacted in FY-22, plus an unspecified adjustment for inflation -- an amount some analysts say could be as high as $865 billion.

“For the second year in a row, President Biden has submitted to Congress an inadequate defense budget that does not provide the real growth we need to counter China. As Congress considers this request, it’s clear we need to dig in further on how inflation is affecting the Department of Defense’s buying power now and into the future,” he said in a statement.

Pentagon Comptroller Mike McCord said during a Monday press conference that the FY-23 request reflects 1.5% real growth above the FY-22 enacted level when adjusting for inflation.

Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks told reporters Monday the Pentagon expects to continue to adjust its budget because of inflationary pressures that presented themselves after the FY-23 request was complete.

“We’ll be working with Congress through the summer on how this year lands,” she said. “We built into this ‘23 budget the best information that we had at the time. As in any year, we’re going to be working that as we get closer to the reality, and even in execution.”

By John Liang
March 30, 2022 at 2:08 PM

This Wednesday INSIDER Daily Digest has news on the Defense Department's latest cloud computing effort, Navy unmanned systems and more.

We start off with the latest on the Pentagon's Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability effort:

DOD anticipates JWCC cloud contract awards to come in December

The Defense Department is delaying its timeline for making awards to major service providers tied to its multivendor, multicloud enterprise, with officials now expecting they will issue contracts for the Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability in December.

. . . followed by news on Navy unmanned system programs:

Navy bolsters unmanned in FY-23 budget, but lacks detail on multiple programs

Nearly a year after rolling out a very ambitious unmanned campaign plan, the Navy provides details for some, but not all, of its unmanned programs in the fiscal year 2023 budget request.

More Army budget news:

Army wants $12.6 billion for modernization priorities in FY-23

The Army would spend $12.6 billion on its 35 priority modernization programs under the fiscal year 2023 budget request, according to a service official.

Army increases FARA funding request, seeks information on proposals

The Army is requesting less money for its top Future Vertical Lift priority in its Fiscal Year 2023 request than it asked for in FY-22, according to an army official.

Last but by no means least, recapitalizing the sealift fleet is the head of U.S. Transportation Command's top priority:

TRANSCOM seeks recapitalization of sealift capabilities

U.S. Transportation Command's top priority remains the recapitalization of the sealift fleet, according to TRANSCOM's top official.

Document: Senate hearing on EUCOM, TRANSCOM